LOS ANGELES – A former U.S. Transportation Security Administration agent was arrested Thursday on suspicion of detaining a woman without legal cause and tricking her into showing him her breasts while she went through security screening at Los Angeles International Airport last year, officials said.
Johnathon Lomeli, 22, of El Monte, is named in a criminal complaint charging false imprisonment by fraud or deceit in connection with an incident that allegedly took place at LAX on June 10, 2019.
“The felony allegedly occurred outside of the primary security screening area,” the California Attorney General’s Office said in a written statement.
An affidavit filed in the case alleges Lomeli told the woman he needed to take her to a private room for additional security screening, the Associated Press reported.
Once they reached an elevator, Lomeli ordered the woman to “show me your full breasts,” and also looked down her pants, before complimenting the passenger on her breasts and telling her she was free to go, according to the AP.
California law defines false imprisonment as “the unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another.”
“Women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect everywhere,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said. “There is no excuse for this kind of alleged behavior. It’s not okay on the street, it’s not okay in our schools, and it’s certainly not welcome at the airport.”
Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Major Crimes Division arrested Lomeli just after 7 a.m. Thursday, Los Angeles County booking records show.
Bail was set at $50,000 pending his initial court appearance.
A TSA spokeswoman said the defendant is no longer with the agency, which pledges to cooperate with the investigation.
“TSA does not tolerate illegal, unethical or immoral conduct,” the spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. “The behavior described in the state charging documents is unacceptable and an affront to the hardworking and committed members of our workforce.”
Agents and task force officers arrested Johnathan Lomeli, 22, of #ElMonte, CA today. Lomeli, a former TSA Agent assigned to LAX, was charged in a criminal complaint with using fraud or deceit to falsely imprison a woman going through security. https://t.co/cDrUdGEu8e
— FBI Los Angeles (@FBILosAngeles) February 7, 2020